Category Archives: Linda Cole

14 Tips That Make Life Easier for Pet Owners

14 tips allisonBy Linda Cole

As responsible pet owners, we want to make sure our dogs and cats are properly cared for. Sharing your home with pets means dealing with pet hair, odors and other pet related challenges. Fortunately, there are some tips that can make life easier for us.

Baking Soda

Sprinkle baking soda in the bottom of litter boxes to help control odor. Generously sprinkle baking soda on carpets and furniture to remove odors. Work it in with a brush, let it sit overnight (if possible) then vacuum it up. It can be sprinkled on cats and dogs as a dry shampoo to freshen up their coat when bathing isn’t possible. Leave it on for 10 or 15 minutes, then rub the coat down with a towel and follow with a good brushing. Baking soda can be toxic if large amounts are ingested by a dog or cat, but small amounts are safe if your pet should lick some off his coat or feet.

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The Physics of a Wet Dog Shake

wet dog shake oscarBy Linda Cole

Like most canines, my dogs aren’t big fans of baths. However, it isn’t difficult to get them in the mood with a generous amount of tasty CANIDAE treats as a reward. My biggest challenge is avoiding flying water that leaves me wetter than the dog. It only takes a few seconds for a wet dog to shake off 70% of the water in his coat – 4 seconds to be exact. Nature provided an effective way for furry animals to quickly dry off, but it is physics that explains the mechanics of a wet dog shake.

Evolution is a process of natural selection that, over time, made subtle changes to increase the survival of mammals, insects, and other creatures. Somewhere in the process, furry animals evolved to use shaking as a means of quickly drying their coat. Having the ability to quickly shake off water is a survival technique used by furry mammals from the smallest mouse, to dogs and large predators like bears to help ward off hypothermia. A wet coat loses its ability to insulate by trapping warm air next to the skin. Shaking is not only an effective way of dispelling water, it also uses less energy than waiting for the sun to evaporate all of the water in a coat. A 60 pound dog, for example, would have to use up to 20% of his caloric intake to maintain his body heat while air drying; this isn’t a practical solution for a wet, furry animal, especially in a cold environment.

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Pet Owners Beware of Wild Parsnip and Giant Hogweed

wild parsnip annieBy Linda Cole

Even though a lot of people have a difficult time identifying poison ivy, poison oak or sumac, the itchy rash that appears on the skin is well known. Wild parsnip and giant hogweed are two more toxic plants that can produce a reaction, but unlike poison ivy, these two plants contain a sap that can cause severe burn blisters on exposed skin. These are two plants pet owners should be able to identify.

Most of us haven’t the foggiest idea about the types of plants we encounter while hiking along a sunny trail or wandering through a field with a dog. Plants with pretty flowers seem safe and some people can’t resist picking a bouquet as they walk. Even if you don’t pick flowers, just walking through a patch of wild parsnip or giant hogweed can produce burns if your skin comes in contact with the sap. Pets are at risk if they run through a patch and get sap on their nose or in their eyes. It’s also possible for the juice to work its way down to the skin of short-haired dogs, and like poison ivy, if a dog or cat has sap on his coat he can transfer it to you if you pet him.

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AKC Adds Three New Dog Breeds to Their “Pack”

By Linda Cole

The American Kennel Club is adding three new dog breeds to their pack this year, which makes them eligible to compete in the Westminster Dog Show. The new inductees – the Lagotto Romagnolo, the Miniature American Shepherd and the Berger Picard – bring the total number of breeds recognized by the AKC up to 187.

Lagotto Romagnolo – Sporting Group

lagottoPronounced La-go-toh Roman-yolo, this webbed footed, curly double-coated dog is one of Italy’s most ancient breeds. Lagotto means “duck dog.” Also known as the Romagna Water Dog, the breed dates back to Roman times. Developed in the marshlands of Romagna in northeastern Italy, this small to medium sized dog was developed and used for centuries as a premier water dog, and has remained unchanged over the years. The Lagotto Romagnolo is believed to be the foundation stock for all modern day water dog breeds.

Sometime during the 1800s, Italy began to drain their marshlands and convert the land to farming. It caused a sharp decline in the population of the breed, as their reason for existing dried up with the marshlands when the flocks of waterfowl began to disappear. But these intelligent, clever and energetic dogs found a new purpose thanks to their super sense of smell, their digging ability, and an abundance of energy. The Lagotto evolved into one of the best truffle hunting dog breeds in Italy and elsewhere. This gentle and sensitive breed is recognized as the only purebred dog in the world specialized as a truffle hunting dog. However, these dogs have retained their water dog hunting skills and continue to be hardworking dogs on land and water.

The Lagotto Romagnolo excels in dog sports like agility and gun dog trials, and loves to swim. These dogs are quick to learn new things, but can be manipulative which makes them not such a good choice for first time dog owners. Reserved with strangers, they are extremely loyal, devoted and affectionate with their family, including children, and are good guard dogs. Always alert with a desire to dig and strong instincts to hunt, especially waterfowl, the Lagotto should not be allowed to run off leash. Fully grown adults stand 17-18 inches high and weigh around 24-35 pounds. Their coat color can be off white, brown, brown roan, orange, or brown and white. Because they are working dogs at heart, daily exercise is recommended. The Lagotto Romagnolo makes a good hiking buddy or jogging partner.

Miniature American Shepherd – Herding Group

MASLike Australian Shepherds, Miniature American Shepherds can have blue, brown or one of each colored eyes. A favorite breed of equestrians because of their size, it’s not uncommon to see Miniature American Shepherds at horse shows. The breed was developed in the late 1960s in California by a woman named Doris Cordova who wanted to create a smaller version of the Australian Shepherd while keeping the intelligence, energy, loyalty, dependability and easygoing temperament of the Aussie. The Miniature American Shepherd is identical in appearance to the larger breed in every way except size. Cordova began to breed the smallest Australian Shepherds from each litter. Eventually she was able to consistently produce litters of the smaller version.

Even though the Miniature American Shepherd is a small dog, 14-18 inches and weighing in at 17-30 pounds, he should not be fed dog food formulated for small breeds. The best choice for active breeds is a premium quality food like CANIDAE. This is an energetic dog who needs a proper diet that will provide him with his daily nutritional needs, along with plenty of physical and mental stimulation.

Miniature American Shepherds are intelligent, athletic, playful, protective and calm. He’s an extremely versatile herding dog for corralling smaller stock like goats and sheep, but are tenacious enough to work larger stock as well. Their small size makes them perfect traveling companions, and they are at home in a city or country setting. Their guarding instincts are strong, they are after all herding dogs, and will bark out an alert when needed. If you’re into jogging, this breed would be a good running companion. He is naturally gentle and good with children. Like any working dog, this canine is happiest when he has a job to do.

Berger Picard – Herding Group

The 2005 heartwarming movie “Because of Winn Dixie” is based on a book by Kate DiCamillo. It’s about a 10 year girl named Opal who finds comfort and a friend when she adopts a stray dog wandering around the parking lot at the local Winn Dixie store. The dog is portrayed as a mixed breed and named Winn Dixie because of where Opal found him. However, Winn Dixie is actually a purebred Berger Picard. Langley wrote a very interesting breed profile on this adorable dog breed earlier this year. You can read more about the Berger Picard here.

Top photo by Teemu Mäntynen/Flickr
Bottom photo by Mullinspw/Wikimedia Commons

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Which Dog Breeds are the Friendliest?

friendly dogs adamBy Linda Cole

Dog owners have their reasons for why they picked a particular breed to bring into their home. Most dogs are friendly when they’re properly socialized to people and other animals, but there are some  breeds that are considered the friendliest. Here are six of them.

The Irish Setter is a chestnut red hunting dog that was used to “set” the game for his owner. He was originally red and white with shorter legs which allowed him to crouch down low when he found a bird and wait for his owner to throw a net over both of them. Through selective breeding, the white was bred completely out of the breed as were his shorter legs. These dogs are extremely fast with a good nose to locate birds. Used to point out and then retrieve birds, the Irish Setter is also adept at tracking, agility, obedience and as a watchdog. These dogs make great family pets and are smart, high spirited, loving and get along well with other pets and kids.

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The Science Behind That “Wet Dog” Smell

wet dog wsilverBy Linda Cole

You run just the right amount of water at the perfect temperature while trying to convince your dog how good he’ll feel after his bath. The doggy shampoo you squirt over his coat has a pleasant smell, and your four legged friend is satisfied munching on CANIDAE treats while you scrub him from head to toe. A question arises, however, while drying off your pet – why doesn’t he smell as good as the shampoo you smeared all over him? Dogs definitely do have a unique wet dog smell, and there is science that can explain what causes it, which begins the minute water hits your dog’s skin.

Dogs may have a better nose than humans, but our nose is also pretty amazing. Microscopic molecules in the air enter the nose when we inhale, finding their way to specialized cells called olfactory sensory neurons located in the nasal cavity. The job of these cells is to recognize the chemical makeup of molecules and send the information to the brain via electrical signals where it’s decoded into a recognizable smell – a steak sizzling on a grill, the scent of a flower… or the smell of a wet dog.

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